Anxious. Upset. Afraid. The”Common Man” [Image credit Source]
Life seems to be a continuous stream of anxieties and mental agitations, isn’t it? Some of the agitations bring happiness, some worries, yet others fear, pride and jealousy. Provocative situations arise unexpectedly. So do disappointments and achievements. Running from pillar to post seems to be a constant affair. But the agitations don’t seem to go away.Sometimes they are small, sometimes big. Occasionally they seem to stop. But the lull is only momentary. The respite is only the blink of the eye. They seem to be always there.
These agitations are quite expensive actually. They rob my health and well being. They cause anxiety and tension. Restless, I pace around a room, wring my hands, move my tongue unnecessarily.I shout in anger. Or bottle it up if I cannot shout and suffer even more. I need medications to relax, to sleep, to digest food. I run away from the agitations only to find they are one step ahead of me wherever I go.
These mental agitations are truly the monkeys on my back.
Many brilliant brains have researched this subject. Several recommendations are available on how to overcome mental agitations and anxieties. Multi billion dollar businesses have been built – about $ 130 B in USA alone in 2012 – on how to manage them and how to get a handle on them.
Here is a simple “to do” list from the Bhagavad Gita to reduce tension, anxieties and mental agitations. Though it seems daunting at first, it actually becomes easier with a bit of practice as I discovered personally. I wanted to share this in case it may benefit you.
Offer all actions to Me. Embrace Me, your indweller. Engage in battle (of life) without desire, possessiveness and mental agitations.
mayi sarvani karmani sanyasya adhyaatma chetasa | niraaseer nirmamo bhootvaa yudhyatsva vigata jwarah|| [ 3.30]
Mental agitations come about because I want my actions and results to go my way, for my benefit. Sometimes they do. When they do, I feel happy, proud and even entitled. When they don’t, I feel disappointed, angry, miserable. The key reason for my agitations either way is not the actions I do or the results I get but my wanting that they should happen in a certain way. When I give up this “wanting” and sincerely do the action in hand to the best of my ability without being concerned with the result one way or the other, I’m contented. Then, in fact, I do calm down mentally.
The Bhagavad Gita teaching is “vigata jwarah, give up mental agitations”. vigata, give up. jwarah, fever of mental agitations. When I give up my desire that actions and results should go the way I want, my mind is no more anxious either with the actions or the results. When I give up the desire that actions and results should happen for my benefit, a certain calmness descends in my mind immediately. Seriously. This reduces tension, stress and anxieties.This is an effective way to calm down.
Calming down is priceless. And it need not be an expensive affair. A slight turn of the mind inwards is enough. A slight decrease in desire starts the way.